There was a silver lining to their senior hurling league campaign as Ballyhale Shamrocks got the better of a Southern battle to grab the shield spoils.
The county champions have had many battles over the years with Carrickshock and used a white-hot first half performance to beat their old rivals by 2-16 to 1-11 in Thomastown on Saturday.
The Shamrocks roared into a strong position, rattling off 2-5 inside 12 minutes as they threatened to turn the game into a procession. Ronan Corcoran got them off the mark with a fifth minute goal, followed by points from Eoin Reid, James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick and T.J. Reid, before Mark Aylward crashed a low shot to the far side of Pat Farrell’s net with 12 minutes on the clock - that burst left a much-changed Carrickshock trailing by eight points (2-5 to 0-3).
With the wind in their sails Ballyhale pressed on. Led by the dangerous Henry Shefflin (0-3) they stretched their advantage to 11 points (2-9 to 0-4) by the 20th minute. Carrickshock were in danger of being overwhelmed, but gained a lifeline when Andrew Power flashed the sliotar home from close range a few minutes later. Both sides managed a point more apiece, leaving Ballyhale ahead by double scores at the interval (2-10 to 1-5).
Carrickshock rang the changes in the second half, bringing on Richie and Jamie Power, but they couldn’t reel in the long-time leaders. They piled on the pressure, but with Shefflin (2) and Aylward (2) in fine scoring form for the Shamrocks in that third quarter the ‘Shock could never get close enough to mount a comeback.
SCORERS: Ballyhale Shamrocks - Mark Aylward (1-4); Henry Shefflin (0-6, 0-2 frees); Ronan Corcoran (1-1); T.J. Reid (0-2, 0-1 free); Eoin Reid (0-2); James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick (0-1). Carrickshock - Andrew Power (1-2); John Power (Lismatigue), Richie Power (0-3, frees each); Niall Rohan (0-2); Michael Rohan (0-1).